Panel Survey: Meaning, Examples, and Guide

What is a panel survey? Learn what a panel survey is and how to run one.

Whether you’re gearing up to launch your company’s next product or looking to strengthen your sense of customer needs in order to improve existing ones, conducting a survey is a great way to ensure you’re on the right path. By conducting a survey, you’ll be able to move your business forward using consumer data from your target audience. But there are so many different methods at your disposal—how do you know which one to choose?

Below, we’ll dive deep into the panel survey in order to give you a clear understanding of what this approach entails, what circumstances make it the ideal method to implement, and how to conduct one for your business or organization.

What is a panel survey, and when should you conduct one?

A panel survey is a type of market research that has grown significantly since it was first used commercially. This powerful form of market research allows you to gain an understanding of not only how your target audience is currently perceiving a brand, engaging with a service, or using a product—but also how their perceptions, engagement, and usage patterns change over time.

The panel survey is a longitudinal method of study that follows a group of voluntary participants from your established target audience for a set period of time. Conducted in “waves,” each participant in a panel survey is asked to complete the same or similar survey questions multiple times—a three-wave survey is run three times, for example—in order to determine changes over time. The amount of time between surveys varies based on the specific goals of the survey, but could range anywhere from days to years.

This method of survey is most commonly used in situations in which you want to gain insight into your core audience’s behaviors and opinions, not only in the current moment, but also in terms of how they evolve over time and which variables are driving those changes. Although a survey run today might yield one key behavior or a specific variable impacting consumer perception, that same survey run a few months or years from now could show a significant difference. This information could play a big role in how you shift effort and energy within your company.

Examples of a panel survey

We’ve established that this method of surveying is useful in gaining information about consumer behavior and perception, but what does that look like in practice? In order to give you a better sense of what this kind of survey might look like, here are some examples.

Gauging customer responses to a new product or service

If you’re in the process of developing a new product or service, or have recently launched one, conducting a panel survey is a great way to see how your target audience is responding to it and where you may want to make changes down the road. Questions you may want to ask in this type of survey include:

  • What aspect of this product or service makes it more or less desirable than our competitors?
  • How satisfied are you overall with this product or service?
  • What specific need does this product or service fill in your life?
  • In what ways does this product or service fall short of your needs and expectations?

By asking questions like this, you’ll gain a sense of where you fall in the current market and why—and you’ll also be able to see how your ideal customer’s perception changes over time and what may be causing those changes.

Understanding how customers use your services, and if there is a need for clarification

This type of survey is also commonly used to gauge the success of the design of websites, online forms, games, or other resources. The information gleaned in the first wave of your survey can be used to lead a redesign, which could be tested in the second wave. Here are some questions that would allow you to understand how people engage with or navigate your product or platform:

  • How do you use our product or service in your life?
  • In order to access X feature or service, describe how you would navigate to it on our platform.
  • In order to get help or speak to our support team, where would you find our customer support portal?
  • Explain the steps you would take on our website in order to complete the following task.

These questions give a clear sense of how your ideal customer is using and navigating through your website, tool, or platform in order to accomplish various actions. You’ll grow more aware of how your product is useful, and if it’s intuitive enough for customers to easily use. As you make changes, this survey will allow you to see whether they’re improving or impeding customer interactions.

How to conduct a panel survey

While the exact questions and structure of the survey you run will look very different from others depending on the core questions you’re looking to learn more about, there are some general steps you will likely take in conducting this kind of survey:

  1. Identify your objective: It’s essential that you know exactly what you’re hoping to learn before creating your survey—otherwise you’re just collecting data, rather than actionable insight.
  2. Know your audience: Who is your target clientele and what are their identifying characteristics? Knowing this will enable you to single them out when soliciting respondents.
  3. Craft compelling questions: Remember that part of your goal is to run this survey several times—how can you write questions that will stand the test of time, providing important information each time your survey is run?
  4. Test your survey: Once you’ve got all your bases covered, take your survey for a test run and adjust any questions that don’t land the way you thought they would.

Voiceform makes conducting panel surveys seamless

To ensure things go as smoothly as possible, consider conducting your panel survey with Voiceform. With our robust technology, customer support, and easy-to-use features, you’ll have all the user information you need in no time—without any of the headaches that come with trying to figure things out on your own. Book a demo today to learn how Voiceform can work for you.

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